Effect of age on liver enzyme activities in serum of healthy quarter horses.

K. A. Gossett, D. D. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), 5'nucleotidase (5'NT), sorbitol dehydrogenase (SDH), and aspartate transaminase activities were measured in 10 clinically healthy foals, 10 yearlings, and 10 two-year-old Quarter Horses. Enzyme activities in foals at 0.5 to 3 days, 2 to 3 weeks, and 5 to 7 weeks of age were compared with enzyme activities from yearling and 2-year-old horses. Multivariate analyses of variance revealed significantly higher enzyme values in foals (P less than 0.002). This increase was mainly a result of higher ALP and GGT activities, with lesser effects due to higher SDH and 5'NT activities. Standard deviations for ALP and GGT were also larger in foals than in adult horses. The wide variation of ALP and GGT activities may limit their usefulness in the diagnosis of hepatic disease in foals. Standard deviations for serum AST, SDH, and 5'NT activities were smaller. These enzymes may be indicators of hepatobiliary disease in foals. The high serum enzyme activities in healthy foals may reflect a physiologic difference between foals and adult horses. Relative hepatic mass (as a percentage of body weight) and enzyme activity per gram of hepatic tissue are high in young animals, indicating that the high serum enzyme activities in foals are due partly to a high rate of enzyme production and release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-356
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican journal of veterinary research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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